Looking for a new job is time-consuming and stressful. You want to find a position that fits your skill set, experience and that pays well. You also want to work with coworkers you like, and a company you can move up in. Finding the right fit can be difficult, but when you get a job you enjoy, it makes each day a little brighter.
Even after you have found the right position, you may still encounter obstacles. Perhaps the salary is lower than you hoped, or maybe you got a promotion, but you did not get the pay increase you expected. You are suspicious you are being discriminated against because of your gender, but you are not sure what your rights are under the law. Here is what you need to know pay discrimination in California.
Equal Pay Act
The California Equal Pay Act was created in 1949, and it outlawed paying employees of a different gender less money for the same work at the same establishment. According to the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, the governor strengthened the state’s protections when he signed the Fair Pay Act in 2015. This act stated:
- Employees do not need to work at the same employer to have their work compared for protection from gender discrimination.
- Workers that perform substantially similar work are protected from gender-based pay discrimination. The similarity factors include things like responsibility, skill level and effort applied.
- If men and women are doing the same job, they cannot be paid differently unless there is a job-related reason like education, experience or training.
- Any mitigating factors like these must be reasonable and account for the entire pay difference.
- Employees seeking protection from gender-based pay discrimination are protected from retaliation.
- Employers cannot prohibit workers from discussing their wages or asking their co-workers about their pay.
In 2018, the Equal Pay Act expanded its protections to public employees. It also added protections for job applicants. California employers cannot ask potential employees for their salary history. After a worker has completed an initial interview, a possible employer must also provide a pay scale for the position.
If you believe your employer has violated the terms of California’s Equal Pay Act, you may want to contact an experienced employment law attorney. An attorney can examine your case, advise you of your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve under California law.